Super Tom is Norwich City's king maker
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Tom Trybull arrived through the back door at Norwich City. He rapidly moved front of house. Paddy Davitt assesses his impact and what the future may hold, in the latest of our City summer report card series.
Tom Trybull was the mystery man when he arrived at Norwich City. Now he is an indispensible cog in the machine.
As first impressions go, this was a fine debut campaign from the German midfielder, until knee and ankle ligament injuries curtailed his campaign effectively in February.
There were a couple of late-season cameos but that simply served to whet the appetite for a fully-fit Trybull next time around.
Have boots, will travel appeared to be the 25-year-old’s motto since bursting onto the scene in the Bundesliga with Werder Bremen.
Maybe too much, too soon sowed the seeds of a nomadic period that brought limited game-time at St Pauli, Greuther Fürth and finally a season in Holland at Den Haag.
Yet when Trybull pitched up in Norfolk 12 months or so ago on Daniel Farke’ recommendation it was hardly an arrival to set the pulse racing.
Trybull had reportedly fallen out of favour when he opted not to explore the prospect of extending his stay in the Dutch top flight.
Yet clearly there was no hard or fast offers on the table, given he agreed to pitch up on trial.
That in itself perhaps was the first signal here was a footballer who backed his own ability, and was willing to prove it, given he had no guarantees England would not be the latest pit stop in a career which appeared to be meandering.
There was an inevitable period of acclimatisation to the rigours of the Championship but it was arguably that battling 1-0 Championship away win at Sheffield United, during an intense afternoon at Bramall Lane, where supporters witnessed the first glimpse of Trybull’s vast potential.
The manner he seamlessly complemented the more robust style of Alex Tettey anchored a win that day achieved through real adversity in an intimidating atmosphere.
That central midfield duo were the fulcrum of what, on reflection, was the most fertile period of City’s inconsistent season.
Trybull was never on the losing side in the first nine games he donned the green and yellow shirt. That is not a coincidence but a nod to his growing influence.
The calmness in possession, the responsibility shown off the ball, the ability to mix it when required in the muck and nettles, and the overall game intelligence were hallmarks of his first season at Carrow Road.
After inspiring a 3-1 League Cup at Brentford in September, Farke strode into the Griffin Park press room and joked he hoped the likes of Chelsea or Arsenal were not watching Trybull’s excellence. Both would be faced later on in further cup tussles.
Trybull took both higher-level challenges in his stride.
From a midfielder few had heard of, now the talk was of tying him down to a longer term deal as fans fretted about a January window that could see him spirited away.
Stuart Webber’s success in persuading Trybull to extend his contract, until at least 2021, may not have grabbed the same headlines as some other pieces of business, but could prove to be one of the more astute signings in the seasons ahead.
Trybull can only improve from a first brush with the Championship.
The chemistry with Tettey offers a degree of reassurance in what could prove a turbulent summer for Norwich’s midfield mix, should James Maddison move on and the likes of Kenny McLean and Ben Godfrey return to their parent club.
The soothing presence of Trybull is likely to be a valuable commodity at the start of a new campaign.